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Film Incentive Supporters Focus Lobbying Efforts on "Film Day" in Raleigh

Billy Hathorn
Filming at Wilmington's City Hall

Film incentives are the ticket to keeping more than four-thousand full-time jobs in the state.  That was a central theme Wednesday morning in Raleigh during a press conference where state and city leaders, film industry workers, and industry supporters gathered to celebrate Film Day at the General Assembly. 

The message from the bi-partisan coalition of elected officials was clear.   Film production has benefited more than two-thirds of North Carolina counties.  And although opponents say they want to move away from creating special exemptions in the tax code for pet industries, Representative Susi Hamilton, a Democrat from New Hanover County says that’s not what happened with the Tax Reform Bill of 2013. 

“I’m going to challenge your assertion that the Tax Reform Bill went away from using credits.  I would say that that is in large part true except for the fact that in the Tax Reform Bill of 2013, they extended tax credits for NASCAR, and they extended tax credits for jet fuels tax that would benefit USAir. 

"It seems that the real issue here is the film industry is not about picking winners and losers; it seems that the North Carolina General Assembly’s behaving in that way.”

Representative Frank Iler, a Republican from Brunswick County, and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, also spoke at the conference. 

The popular tax breaks for film production companies could be on the chopping block; Susi Hamilton has sponsored a bill that would repeal the sunset, Governor McCrory has proposed a total restructuring of the package, and some state leaders say they’d like to do away with the benefits entirely. 

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.